The Digital Revolution, Sustainable Development and Gender Inequality

Past Event

NCAER organised an in-person lecture on ‘The Digital Revolution, Sustainable Development and Gender Inequality’, by Prof. Ridhi Kashyap, Professor of Demography and Computational Social Science at the University of Oxford, on Friday, 23 February 2024, 3:00 pm, as part of its Dialogue Room Seminar Series.

Details of the paper presented and bios of the Speaker, Chair and the Discussant are shared below.


The rapid proliferation of Internet and mobile technologies has been one of the most significant social phenomena of the new millennium. In this talk, the author will discuss the implications of this digital revolution for the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and introduce ongoing work done as a part of the Digital Gender Gaps project (

The project asks the following questions: 1) How has the spread of digital technologies affected women’s empowerment in outcomes linked to health, economic and social domains in low- and middle-income countries? 2) How do gender gaps in the adoption of Internet and mobile technologies look across the world?

Although a vision for digital technologies to promote social empowerment is embedded across different SDGs, in particular SDG 5 on gender equality, the author argues that their empirical impacts can often be mixed and context-specific; yet unpacking the impacts of digitalization remains a challenge due to data gaps on digital inequalities. She provides examples from ongoing work in the Digital Gender Gaps project, drawing on population surveys and social media datasets. These examples will address: 1) the role of social connectedness across communities, as measured through Facebook friendship links, in shaping knowledge diffusion and behaviour related to sexual and reproductive health in 495 regions across 33 countries in Africa; and 2) the impact of free laptop distribution schemes on adolescent educational outcomes in India.


Ridhi Kashyap is Professor of Demography and Computational Social Science at the University of Oxford and Professorial Fellow at Nuffield College. Her research spans different topics linked to population dynamics and sustainable development, such as gender inequality, population health, family, migration, and the impacts of digital transformations on population and development dynamics. A central theme of her work has been to leverage computational methods and digital data streams from the web and social media for social and demographic research.


Sonalde Desai is a Distinguished University Professor, at the Department of Sociology, University of Maryland, and Professor and Centre Director at the NCAER-National Data Innovation Centre, New Delhi. She is a demographer whose work deals primarily with social transformation and its impact on the lives of individuals with a focus on education, employment, gender, and maternal and child health. She leads the India Human Development Survey (IHDS) of over 40,000 households, one of the few national panel surveys in India that provides a rich and free public resource for studying the transformation of the Indian society in the twenty-first century between 2004 and 2023. She has published extensively in Indian and international journals and served on editorial boards of several major journals. She is a frequent contributor to Indian English language newspapers. She received a PhD from Stanford University and post-doctoral training at the University of Chicago and RAND Corporation. She was elected President of Population Association of America for 2022 and has been named a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She also serves on several government committees in India, such as the Standing Committee on Statistics, (Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation), the Task Force on Indian Statistical System (NITI Aayog), and Technical Advisory Committee on Surveys (RBI).


Bornali Bhandari is a Professor at NCAER with a background in international economics and macroeconomics, specifically focusing on the impact of globalisation on development. Currently, she is engaged in a number of industry studies including automobiles, farm mechanisation, and digitisation. Her wider research interests include analysis of skilling from a 3-E perspective (education, employability and employment), e-Governance, infrastructure, particularly the roads and ICT sectors, G-20 issues like climate change financing and reserve currency, FDI and trade-related issues. She also oversees the production of the NCAER Quarterly Business Expectations Surveys.

  • Event Date

    23 February 2024
  • Location

    NCAER, Seminar Hall T1-102
  • Event Type

  • Event Mode